Scientists Find Diseases in Well-Preserved 400 Year Old Hearts

Scientists uncovered ruins in Rennes, France.  The ruins were the remains of a convent, a Christian community of priests, nuns, etc.  Within the convent, they found five urns in the shape of hearts.  What was inside those urns?  Actual hearts.  One belonging to a woman and the other four belonging to men.  The earliest urn was dated at 1584.  The latest urn was dated at 1655.

These scientists decided to run some tests on the hearts of the men because they were actually still intact.  As anthropologist Rozenn Colleter said, “Four of these hearts are very well preserved. It is very rare in archaeology to work on organic materials. The prospects are very exciting.”  The woman heart, unfortunately, was decayed to the point where scientists couldn’t do anything with it.  After the tests, the scientists found obvious signs of heart diseases that are present in today’s society as well.  Only three of the hearts had disease, the other was perfectly healthy (except for the obvious fact it’s not in its human’s body).  The disease they found inside the hearts was atherosclerosis.  It is a disease that builds up fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances inside your arteries.  The blocked arteries then trigger heart attacks and strokes.

One of the hearts belonged to someone named Toussaint Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac, who died in 1649.  The only reason they were able to find out this information is because the urn had his name and story written on it.  His heart was removed from his body and the urn was buried with his wife when she died.  They found the urn inside of her coffin.  She was perfectly preserved as well as these hearts.  She was still wearing her clothes from that period as well.

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